What's the best soil for my succulents?

Succulents come from dry desert climates. In their natural environment, they get rain showers from time to time, but apart from that they experience long periods of drought. To make them happy, we need to mimic that as much as possible.

Soil plays a big part in recreating that environment. They don't like to stay wet for too long, ideally soil should dry within 2-3 days after watering. Longer than that they will risk rotting. So the bottom line is you can use any soil as long as it dries within 2-3 days in your setting.

What soil options are out there?

1. Pure Compost

Yes, you heard it right. Although this might not work for us here in the UK, in the very dry climates where succulents grow naturally outdoors this type of soil might be best. Gritty soil might dry too fast and not be beneficial to succulents. 

2. Compost + perlite/grit (Ratio 50/50 or 70/30)

This is the easiest to find and most economical option. Every gardener will have leftover compost. Perlite and grit are also easy to buy from garden centres or DIY stores.

3. Coco coir + perlite/pumice/grit

If you buy succulents from a shop or garden centre, you might often see they use this type of soil. The ratio they use is 80-90% coco coir and 10-20% of grit. I would say this type of soil isn’t suitable for a home setting, as it stays wet for too long. You might wonder why, as the succulents have grown so nicely. This is because they were grown in controlled climate greenhouse. For our homes or a standard greenhouse this mix of soil is a no no - unless you swap the ratio the other way around to coco coir 10-20% and grit 80-90%.

4. Pure gritty soil

This is our favourite, as it's airy and dries super fast - so succulent roots love it! I like to use different types of minerals to get the all round benefits of each of them. It retains moisture so the succulents have enough drink before a long dry period. This also helps ‘stress’ the succulents. For some of you that might not have heard this before, getting succulents to stay plump and vibrant is all about stressing them. They are most beautiful when stressed.



Roots are loving our soil mix.


Our favourite soil recipe is 1 part of Akadama, Kanuma, Kiryu, Moler Clay and Pumice. 


Soil components



If you want to try mixing soil by yourself, the ratio and what type of minerals are not limited to the above. You can play around with it. I recommend trying it, it's so much fun.


Also, our favourite soil mix ready to use is available for purchase in our shop. The pack comes in various volumes, 0.5L (tester size), 1L, 2L and free UK delivery for 3L pack.


Crown ball in our soil mix.



What about succulent soil sold online or at garden centres?

I find these often still stay damp for too long. I used to use this as 10% in my gritty mix and it works fine. Like I said above, you could play around with ratio and can add more perlite or grit. Watch them closely during the interim period, succulent can take as short as overnight to rot.

How much grit should I add to soil?

You need to test what works in your environment, but I suggest start with 50% grit.

Do I need to top dressing?

It doesn’t hurt. Top dressing help elevate the bottom leaves from wet soil, so it prevents rot and increases airflow around the lower leaves. If you are using pure gritty soil mix, there is no need for top dressing. It already acts in the same way 😊


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